7.3/10
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238 user 276 critic

Crazy Heart (2009)

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A faded country music musician is forced to reassess his dysfunctional life during a doomed romance that also inspires him.

Director:

Scott Cooper

Writers:

Scott Cooper, Thomas Cobb (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
3,062 ( 41)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 36 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Bad Blake
James Keane ... Manager
Anna Felix Anna Felix ... Barmaid
Paul Herman ... Jack Greene
Tom Bower ... Bill Wilson
Ryan Bingham ... Tony
Beth Grant ... Jo Ann
Rick Dial Rick Dial ... Wesley Barnes
Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Jean Craddock
Debrianna Mansini ... Ann
Jerry Handy Jerry Handy ... Cowboy (as Jerry Hardy)
Jack Nation Jack Nation ... Buddy
Ryil Adamson ... Ralphie
J. Michael Oliva ... Bear (as J. Michael 'Yak' Oliva)
David Manzanares ... Nick
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Storyline

Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can't help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician. Written by Fox Searclight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The harder the life, the sweeter the song.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 February 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Loco corazón See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$82,664, 20 December 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$39,462,438, 30 May 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The party store owner who gives Bad Blake a gift bottle of his favorite Bourbon is named Bill Wilson. In the third act, Bad joins an unnamed recovery group that seems to be Alcoholics Anonymous, which was co-founded by Bill Wilson, also known as Bill W. See more »

Goofs

When Blake enters the rear entrance of the open air venue in Phoenix, reflections of the camera operator are visible in the red truck. When Blake and Tommy talk in the outside after the bar scene, reflections of the camera team are visible in Blake's sunglasses. See more »

Quotes

Jean Craddock: [while leaving the hospital] Okay, you need to hush now. Seriously.
Bad Blake: Why? Am I ramblin'? Must be those blue pills. Think I can get a prescription or two of those?
Jean Craddock: [smiling] No.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.185 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Hello Trouble
(1962)
Written by Orville Couch and Eddie McDuff
Performed by Buck Owens
Courtesy of Buck Owen Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Stumbling toward salvation, one day at a time
6 January 2010 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

'Crazy Heart' is a simple but emotionally resonant movie about a 57-year-old alcoholic country singer whose career is on the skids. There's not much to the story, but not much is necessary with Jeff Bridges as the singer, Bad Blake; Colin Farrell as Tommy Sweet, his handsome acolyte, now a big country music star; Maggie Gyllenhaal as Jean Craddock, a small-time New Mexico journalist with a four-year-old boy who has lousy luck with men, and falls for Bad; and Robert Duvall as Wayne, the singer's clean-and-sober bartender-protector.

Bridges, Gyllenhaal and Farrell have never been better, and Duvall is always pure gold. This movie is Bridges' chance to give a master class in acting, and he does not disappoint for a minute, but he's not alone in the spotlight, and the depth of support he gets is what makes Crazy Heart worth watching.

A lifelong musician and many-talented artist (painting, photography, ceramics) whose thespian preeminence in Hollywood has yet to win him an Oscar, Jeff Bridges inhabits the songs he sings on screen as convincingly and seamlessly as he fits into the shambles of a life and mess of a body that is the film's protagonist. This musical integrity is important because Bad Blake is one of those disintegrating performers whose art has not faltered, though his life has. The songs he sings are his own, and when he's on stage, he's alive. The rest of the time he's lying, deceiving, or numbing out. A great line is when he's asked by Jean where his songs come from and he replies simply, "Life, unfortunately."

A parallel to Bridges' work in 'Crazy Heart' is the similarly lived-in and authentic performance as a waning dance hall singer by Gérard Depardieu in Xavier Giannoli's 'The Singer'/'Quand j'étais chanteur,' a richly atmospheric little film released but barely seen in the US. But the milieu here is very different, and as American as 'The Singer's' is French. First time director Scott Cooper has said this movie tells "Merle Haggard's' story and Kris Kristofferson's and Waylon Jennings'. As Bad Blake, Jeff moves like Waylon, he has Merle Haggard's songwriting ability and Kris Kristofferson's charisma." Of course Bridges looks a lot like Kristofferson, and Bad Blake puts his hard times into his felt, authentic compositions as Waylon and Merle did. The songs are composed by T Bone Burnett, and are fine; more authenticity is added through other songs such as Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You" and Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way." Burnett composed the songs with the late Stephen Bruton; and the closing ballad, "The Losing Kind," with Ryan Bingham. Farrell as well as Bridges does his own singing, and his Irishness merges fairly convincingly into a slick country style. Just as Bad Blake is the mentor of Tommy Sweet, in real life Robert Duvall has become a mentor of the actor-writer-director, so his presence anchors the film and presides over it. Bridges knew of the movie but held off from committing to it till he learned his friend Burnett was in, so this is project that must have felt right, ultimately, for all concerned.

Bridges' Bad Blake is so authentically blousy and pathetic he's hard to look at sometimes. He's always drunk and at an opening gig at a Pueblo, Coloradi bowling rink, throws up in a back alley between songs, while the young pickup band he's saddled with has to fill in. In Santa Fe Jean shows up to do an interview, and a May-December romance develops as Bad woos Jean against her better judgment and plies her little boy with homemade pancakes (the boy is hungry for a man in his life and Bad oozes charm, when he's conscious). Gyllenhaal, who played a character struggling with addiction and recovery herself in 'SherryBaby,' gives a performance as a women warring inside with loneliness and need. Her scenes with Bridges are central to the movie, and the chemistry is strong between them.

Blake hasn't written songs for some years, but when he meets up with Tommy prior to a date opening for him to an audience of 12,00 in Denver, Tommy begs him to write some for him. In this way the screenplay manages to steer a course, perhaps a bit too easily, between success and failure. Clearly Bad Blake is still working, even if it's at lousy venues, and to prove it he's always on the phone to a hard-nosed Manager (James Keane) who's finding him the best gigs he can. This eventually leads to a contract to compose songs for an album with Tommy.

'Crazy Heart,' which was written by Cooper from the eponymous novel by Thomas Cobb, is perhaps a bit schematic about the up-down-up trajectory of the talented loser, but it manages to be pretty realistic about the degeneration that is terminal alcoholism. Here, however, it's not a slide into hell like Mike Figgis' Leaving Las Vegas. Though only by the skin of his teeth, and with multiple ailments a car crash reveals, Bad is surviving. So when the moment comes and he hits his bottom, he still has the strength to straighten out. Maybe the fast-forward finale is a bit too upbeat, but the memory the movie leaves is, of course, of Bridges with a bottle, a guitar, and a sad sweet song, and of some of the year's best movie acting.


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